Shingles (Herpes Zoster)
Steven Doerr, MD
Steven Doerr, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Doerr received his undergraduate degree in Spanish from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He graduated with his Medical Degree from the University Of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colorado in 1998 and completed his residency training in Emergency Medicine from Denver Health Medical Center in Denver, Colorado in 2002, where he also served as Chief Resident.
John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
- Shingles (herpes zoster) facts
- What is shingles? What does shingles look like?
- What causes shingles?
- What are risk factors for shingles?
- What is the contagious period for shingles?
- What are shingles symptoms and signs?
- How is shingles diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for shingles?
- Are there any home remedies for shingles?
- What is the duration of a shingles outbreak?
- What are complications of shingles?
- What can be done for recurrent shingles?
- What is the prognosis of shingles?
- Is it possible to prevent shingles with a vaccine?
- Test Your IQ: Take the Shingles Quiz
- Pictures of Shingles - Slideshow
- Pictures of Shingles
- Shingles (Herpes Zoster) FAQs
- Find a local Dermatologist in your town
Shingles (herpes zoster) facts
- Shingles, also called herpes zoster, is a painful skin rash.
- Shingles is caused by reactivation of the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox.
- Older adults and individuals with a weakened immune system are at greatest risk for developing shingles.
- Shingles symptoms and signs include
- one-sided stabbing pain,
- tingling, itching, burning, stinging sensation that precedes the appearance of the rash by a few days,
- fever and chills,
- body aches,
- fluid-filled blistering red rash on the torso or face.
- Shingles is most often diagnosed by your doctor solely based on the appearance of the characteristic rash.
- Shingles can be treated with antiviral medication and pain medication.
- The prognosis for shingles is generally favorable, though some individuals can experience complications. The most common complication is postherpetic neuralgia, which is persistent nerve pain after the rash disappears.
- There is a vaccine available to help prevent shingles for certain individuals.
What is shingles? What does shingles look like?
Shingles is a disease characterized by a painful, blistering skin rash that affects one side of the body, typically the face or torso. This condition may also be referred to as herpes zoster, or simply zoster. There are approximately 1 million estimated cases per year in the U.S., with almost one out of every three people developing shingles at some point in their lifetime. Though most people who develop shingles will only have a single episode, there are some who develop recurrent cases of shingles. Shingles is more common in older individuals and in those with weakened immune systems.
The characteristic rash of shingles typically appears after an initial period of burning, tingling, itching, or stinging in the affected area. After a few days, the rash then appears in a stripe or band-like pattern along a nerve path called a dermatome, affecting only one side of the body without crossing the midline (to the other side). The rash erupts as clusters of small red patches that develop into blisters, which may appear similar to chickenpox. The blisters then break open and slowly begin to dry and eventually crust over.
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